Medical Errors: An Unpleasant Reality of the Healthcare System
The modern world is a slave of future trends. Despite of the frequent violence going on, Pakistan still manages to move forward like every other country. Social networking has become the top most favorite activity for spending time for people of all ages, where honestly, I also like to spend some time on weekends. Spreading just about on every network, I couldn’t help notice a video of a son who blames a prestigious hospital for the demise of his respectful mother. It took me a long time to gather words and write this piece to inform my fellow citizens that the doctor to patient ratio in Pakistan was previously 1:1400 in the year 2007 and there are 10 hospital beds for every 1000 patients. Look around! Is the existing health care service in Pakistan better or worse than that in the 90s?
There were times when my relatives and friends would visit London just to get a CT scan or America for a bypass surgery procedure or Australia for a successful neurosurgery. Yes, we are training the health care professionals to transform their skills from better to best. Closing hospitals down would not help us realize the fact that medical mistakes are a reality of life. We need a rational behavior to deal with such issues.
Medical errors hold 8th rank on the list of causes of patient expiries, which is fairly higher than the morbidities in breast cancer patients and vehicle accidents. Even the U.S population that possesses higher literacy rates as compared to Pakistan has innumerable medical errors. This is mainly because the school of thought that those medical errors mean failure of an efficient healthcare system is not popular with the modern world. Medical errors are the loopholes (whether or not obvious) in care which are preventable and can be diminished.
Yet with all the knowledge and science at disposal, it is estimated that adults and children who receive medical treatment each year will suffer hundreds of deaths due to medical errors. There are doctors who leave instruments in patients after a surgical procedure, overdose pediatric population with medicines and sometimes even operate on the wrong side of the body. As difficult as this is, it is important to not focus on an individual injury, neglect and injustice that cause these errors because not even a single doctor would want to lose his patient and blaming him to kill is a braying attitude. He leaves his home with the intention of bringing hope to his patients and relief from their discomfort.
This may be the worst form of emotional ventilation by victimizing a doctor. Instead, innovative techniques shall be designed to minimize the risk of potential errors that cost a human life and tears of their loved ones. My understanding of medicine is limited at the time and I am just like the millions of patients who walk into hospitals in sick condition or escorting a loved one. Apart from all this even when we want to believe that the doctors have done all they can to save a life, our conscience tells us that this was just the way things were supposed to happen, we should not settle for the inevitability of life. It is our right to receive better care and expect standard modes of treatment from any reputable organization.
What we need is a program that emphasizes at the unit level to help train physicians, nursing staff and other paramedics to work together meritoriously as a team. A program that can be applied to every unit in the hospital and is malleable enough to address each department’s sole risk factors. It is quite worthy to remember that it is also the quality of life that matters not just the quantity. Therefore, it is necessary to find a proper balance between quantitative improvement of life that entails cultural and psychological growth eventually leading to an improved quality of life.
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